"If you can do two days worth of school tomorrow I'll take you to work with me when I go the day after." the GH said to the Boy last week. He's renovating the bathroom at his parent's house right now, so it's a safe place to take a child.
"I could come and watch you work dad?" he asks.
"Oh you will do more than watch me work, you will help me to get my work done. I'll have jobs that you need to do for me."
I watch as the Boy's visibly swells with delight at the prospect of working with his dad.
Needless to say, any time he got sidetracked at school the next day all I needed to do was remind him of his desire to go to work with daddy tomorrow and he was right back on track. Except for the times when he couldn't sit still for excitement and instead would do things like bring out his jeans with the hole in the knee and say, "I could wear these tomorrow when I go to work with daddy. Sometimes dad wears jeans for working in. I'm going to need strong work clothes tomorrow when I go and help Daddy at work you know." Or he would look up from his book to ask, "Why don't I have work boots mommy? Why haven't you ever bought me work boots? I should have work boots because I'm going to work with daddy!"
He strutted around the neighborhood that evening, after completing two full days worth of school work successfully, announcing to all of the other 6 and 7 year old boys and girls he plays with, "I'm going to work with my dad tomorrow! I'm going to help him do his work!"
He spent 5 hours at Beema's house the next day doing exactly what he was told to do. He pulled drywall off of the frames and carried it outside. He fetched and carried. He held stuff when he was told to and proved to be an excellent junior assistant. And then he ate some lunch, had a rest and played for the rest of the day before coming home late in the evening for dinner.
Covered head to toe in gray dust he spoke proudly and casually of his work day. His shoulders seemed broader, his body more loose and capable. He carried himself as a man that night, rather than a boy. His stuck his chest out proudly as he told me about his labors in the casual confident manner of one who knows they have done their job well. In one day he seemed to have matured by several years.
As I watched him across the dinner table I couldn't help but wish he could go to work with dad every day. It filled him up in a way that a day with mom never would, that I knew. And yet, there are those pesky child labor and home school laws, and he does need to at least know long division before I thrust him upon the adult world forever. We definitely need to make something like this happen more often though. My boy longs to be a man.
I guess it's time for some more meaningful jobs around the house too.